Forests

2 killed, 50 injured in clash at Vedanta’s refinery in Lanjigarh

The deaths occurred after security men severely beat displaced tribals demanding jobs and education from Vedanta

 
By Ashis Senapati
Last Updated: Tuesday 19 March 2019
Lanjigarh
Credit: Ashis Senapati Credit: Ashis Senapati

Two persons were killed and 50 injured at Vedanta’s alumina refinery unit in the town of Lanjigarh, situated in Odisha’s Kalahandi district on March 18, 2019.

The deceased have been identified as Dani Batra (45), a displaced person of Chatarapur village and Sujit Kumar Minj (32), a worker of the company.

The deaths happened after Odisha Industrial Security Force (OISF) personnel mercilessly used batons on displaced tribals demanding jobs.

Around 500 tribals launched an indefinite protest in front of the main gate of the refinery on March 18, demanding jobs and free education for their children in the Vedanta-managed school at Lanjigarh.

“The Vedanta Alumina Company acquired around 3,000 acres of land in 2004 in Rangopali, Potagada  Bundel, Bandhuguda and other villages, on the promise of providing jobs. But now, the company is not considering our demands. The officials of the company also promised to provide free education for our children. But our kids are being denied education in the school of the company. We were peacefully agitating in front of the office when the OISF mercilessly attacked us. As a result, two persons were killed and many sustained injuries”, said Basant Batra (42) of Rangopali.

The officials of the company are giving priority to outsiders in the matter of jobs, depriving local youths, who have the requisite degrees and diplomas in different streams. Those who have lost land have also accused the company authorities of adopting anti-local policies in all the appointments in their project, in violation of the decisions of the Rehabilitation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee, said Lingaraj Azad, vice-president of Samajabadi Jana Parisada and one of the leaders of Niyamagiri Surakhya Samiti.

Azad added that company officials have been reluctant to admit children of the displaced tribals on the pretext of shortage of seats.

Following the deaths of the two persons, Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been imposed at Lanjigarh and neighbouring areas.

Any public meeting, assembly of five or more people and processions has been prohibited for now. The district administration has appealed to people to maintain peace in the area.

Security forces have been deployed to check any untoward incident, said Gupteswar Bhoi, Sub- Divisional Police Officer of Kalahandi.

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